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18 Dead in East DR Congo, Elections Approach

  • 18 Dead in East DR Congo, Elections Approach.

    18 Dead in East DR Congo, Elections Approach. | Photo: Reuters file

Published 4 December 2018

The fighting between government forces and rebels led to four soldiers and 14 rebels dead in the eastern DRC region of Kivu, as elections approach.

On Monday, clashes between the military and a group loyal to William Amuri Yakutumba, a former general from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) resulted in 18 dead, as elections near.

Democratic Republic of Congo’s Presidential Elections Underway

As a result, 14 rebels and four soldiers were killed by the fighting which took place in South Kivu, a region rich in minerals.

Yakutumba, whose rebel group is allied with the National Liberation Front (NLF), is opposed to the current President Joseph Kabila.

In February, Kabila mistakingly stated Yakutumba and his rebels had been wiped out.

Monday’s events are not isolated. Last year, the rebel’s staged attacks on the town of Uvira on Lake Tanganyika, but were pushed back by a joint effort from United Nations forces and the Congolese army.

Looking at the wider political context, there has not been a peaceful political transition in the DRC since the 1960s.

Kabila, who has been in power since 2007 on a mandate which expired in 2016, is a controversial leader who’s handling of electoral politics has been questioned by many Congolese.

The opposition to Kabila recently attempted to form a coalition aimed at improving the chances of wrestling power from his People’s Party for Reconstruction and Democracy.

They believe the transition should have taken place in 2016, however, the leader refused, alleging there were financial reasons and challenges in the voter enrollment system which needed to be addressed before his departure, and this sparked protests in which dozens of people died.

There is great concern in the DRC that clashes between militants and the government, as well as the Ebola outbreak situation, could compromise the electoral process.

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